Time to TEL: Lower spending in MA and contrain it with a real tax and expenditure limitation

( – promoted by Garrett Quinn)

David Tuerck writing in today’s Boston Globe:

Candidates for office who want to challenge this blue-state attachment to high taxes have an important fact on their side: The “frayed-safety-net” argument doesn’t hold water. The Beacon Hill Institute calculated per-capita spending by state and local government in Massachusetts on three categories of safety-net services – public welfare, veterans services and unemployment compensation. We found that, adjusted for differences in the cost of living, Massachusetts spending thus measured exceeds safety-net spending by the country as a whole by 30 percent. It turns out that our safety net is a good deal less frayed than the public employee unions would have us believe.

The solution is to impose a tax and expenditure limitation on state spending, either through a constitutional amendment or a simple act of self-restraint by the Legislature. A tax and expenditure limitation proposed by the Beacon Hill Institute would limit the growth of spending to the growth of population plus inflation, thus maintaining a steady flow of services per person. It would eliminate the structural deficit and obviate emergency budget cuts in lean years. Had such a limitation been in effect since 1999, the state would have come close to meeting its 2010 spending target without the need for $1.32 billion in new taxes that it imposed on state consumers and corporations.

The full BHI study Massachusetts Fiscal

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